When you are debugging a graphical aplication, using OpenGL, debugging is very complex. You can’t use the common debuggers, as gdb, because the graphical part are executed at the “server side”, at the card, therefore, managed by the OpenGL drivers, asynchronously with respect your program.
But, as in other programs, debugging and profiling a very important part of the development process, more important with the pass of the time, as the graphical cards are more and more complex, and make more and more work, not only graphical. For example, Havok creates and physical effects engine implemented over the graphics card, called Havok FX.
Recently, NVIDIA released NVPerfKit 2.1, a package of performance tools to help debug and profile Direct3D and OpenGL aplications, that for the first time supports Linux!! Its a good new. It isn’t free, and includes gDEbugger as a 30-day-trial version, but, well this is better than nothing
When I was developing my Master Thesis (Proyecto de Fin de Carrera), I missed a lot some kind of tool to debug and test perform of my program, but, or this tools wasn’t released or my card doesn’t support it … so I need to use the “universal flag-method” to debug the aplication, and use and ad-hoc system to profile it. But well, at this moment there are some NVPerfkit tools that don’t support my card (well really, my card don’t support this tools, for example, don’t support GPU counters ), so I would need to do that anyway.
Someday I will write a post about this project. I hope to someday I will get that this compile at linux, and migrate my “Hair Editor” to GTK, but “when I have some time” ….